Jeremiah 14-17

Here we have mention of false prophets again, those that say what the people want to hear. “Destruction isn’t coming. You’re perfectly safe!”

It’s so much easier to give a message you know will be received well. There’s no fear of recrimination. There’s no fear of reprisal. You know you get to keep your job. You might even get a raise. Everybody likes good news.

It’s so much easier to listen to a message you like. You don’t have to feel guilty. You don’t have to feel ashamed. There’s no fear. There’s no motivation to change. You get to go right on feeling proud of yourself for being such a good person.

Yeah, there’s no shortage of that in today’s world, either.

I mean, the messages are a little different. We aren’t facing the same impending doom that Judah is here. Our redemption has already been supplied. However, I’ve gotta say, the message of James bears a stark difference to quite a few of the more popular ‘gospels’ out there.

So be careful what messages you listen to. Be careful what messages you deliver. The false kind won’t take you where you want to go, and you’ll wind up a bit surprised when you get there.

Make sure you aren’t listening only to the messages that tell you God wants you to be happy. He does. Believe me, he does. But we live in a broken world, and bad things happen. He will use them, but they’ll still hurt. Life here is not comfortable. Remember, Jesus said riches distract us, make it harder for us to rely on God as we should. Anyone preaching that faith brings wealth and healing is just delivering a message they think you want to hear.

Make sure you aren’t listening only to messages that tell you that you’re right. That make you feel superior. That tell you that your small congregation have got the only handle on the truth and everyone who disagrees is degenerate, dangerous, or just downright evil. Be wary of those who see enemies in every corner of the church, who need everyone to look and act exactly the same. Fear is exhilarating. Self-righteousness even more so.

And those are just extremes. Honestly, the vast majority of teachers and ministers are doing the best they can. Most of them are sincere. Most of them have good hearts. Probably. So be careful with yourself, first.

Make sure when you listen to a message that you’re listening for the Spirit. If it makes you uncomfortable, ask the Spirit why. Maybe it’s something you need to respond to. Maybe it’s something you disagree with. But have that conversation with the Spirit. Don’t be afraid to engage. That’s why she’s here with us, after all.

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